Only a few years ago, mason jars were pretty much strictly for canning. Now, most likely thanks to social media, they’re as trendy as green juice and coconut oil.
Sure, they can hold wedding centerpieces or tiki torches, but even better, they make portable single-serve meals a cinch. And some of those meals don’t need even a second of cooking!
Plus, hello, Insta-worthy meals! Who knew salads looked even more appetizing when stacked?
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you #NailedIt on the presentation. Taste buds know it’s what inside that counts, and these recipes are sure to please.
1. Blueberry and grilled peach quinoa parfait
This beaut calls for grilled peaches to up the sweet ante, though fresh work just as well in a time crunch.
With layers of nutty quinoa, creamy Greek yogurt, crunchy pecans, and soft blueberries, all drizzled with maple syrup, it’s a symphony of textures so fabulous we’d make it for dessert too.
2. Bacon and eggs in a jar
Mason jar breakfasts aren’t all layered parfaits, oats, and chia seeds. Hearty combinations like this one work just as well, making eggs portable without putting them on an English muffin or bagel.
Instead, toss ’em in a jar with bacon, spinach, and cheese and microwave it all for a speedy, healthy meal.
3. Salted turtle overnight oats
Chocolate turtle lovers, this one’s for you. If you’re not familiar with the sweet combo, rest assured no reptiles are involved — turtle is a delightful mixture of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.
This a.m. meal keeps it healthy with medjool dates as a surprisingly perfect stand-in for caramel, plus cocoa powder, unsweetened almond milk, oats, and of course the pecans. Delish!
4. Breakfast jar parfaits
Gotta love a recipe that doesn’t require cooking. Oats and chia seeds soak up milk, vanilla, and cinnamon overnight to make a thick, pudding-like treat.
Featuring layers of Greek yogurt, berries, and chia seeds topped with granola, this nutritious meal takes just minutes to put together and is perfectly portable. Take that, Mickey D’s.
5. Oven-baked egg and vegetable cups
Who says frittatas have to be fancy? This recipe takes a little longer, but the winning combination of eggs, kale, potatoes, sausage, and cheese in a cute mason jar is worth the time.
6. Granola breakfast in a mason jar
Can’t go wrong with the classic: fruit, yogurt, and granola. Mix protein powder into the yogurt for extra flavor and switch up the other ingredients based on what’s in season and what you want!
Check labels and make your own homemade granola to limit added sugar. To amp up the protein content even more, choose Greek yogurt over regular.
7. Overnight no-cook refrigerator oatmeal
With this basic recipe, you can wake up to a delicious breakfast with a good amount of protein in a different flavor every day.
This blog lists 20 flavors, including cherry almond, papaya coconut cashew, and strawberry pumpkin seed. And can we just talk about the pretty presentation for a second?
8. Omelet in a jar
Despite the slew of oat recipes out there, morning mason jar options for Paleo eaters do exist.
In this recipe, omelets of sausage, sweet peppers, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and eggs scrambled with plain yogurt are baked right in the jars. Make a few and have breakfast set for the week.
9. Choco-banana refrigerator oatmeal
Who doesn’t want to wake up to a healthy breakfast that’s also chocolaty? The chia seeds, yogurt, and soaked oats make it creamy and rich. Top with extra bananas, walnuts, and honey and it’s ready to go.
10. Apple pie pancake in a jar
That’s right, flapjacks to go! And they’re made with real ingredients — including almond butter, apple butter, and whole-wheat flour — rather than packaged mix.
This version cooks in the microwave and has all the light, fluffy, fruity goodness you’d expect from the griddle. Plus, the jar makes for easy portion control (we all know how a huge stack of pancakes can go down easy).
11. Zucchini pasta salad with avocado-spinach dressing
Zucchini noodles with a Greek yogurt-avocado dressing — what’s not to like? Add red bell pepper, tomatoes, buttery edamame, crunchy celery, and salty feta and olives. We’re all drooling over here.
12. Shrimp-feta Cobb salad
Since it has fewer calories and the same amount of protein as ham, we’re not sure why we didn’t think to put shrimp in a Cobb salad before. There’s still cheese, egg, and bacon in this recipe, plus a variety of vegetables that can be adapted as you like.
13. Minty chickpea yogurt parfaits
The breakfast fave takes a walk on the savory side. This recipe is loaded with flavor, texture, and nutrients. We’re talking chickpeas, raisins, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, walnuts, pistachios, and mint.
Then there’s that Greek yogurt-based ranch dressing to bring everything together. Fair warning: Make extra! This recipe will inspire you to experiment with other fun ways to try savory yogurt.
14. Mango black bean mason jar salad
There’s something about fruit in a salad that gives it a vacation feel, and this version is no exception. With avocados, black beans, corn, and cilantro, this colorful salad has a Tex-Mex flavor with a little added sweetness.
You can add some of your favorite fruits (we recommend mangos) or veggies to personalize your portable meal.
15. Orzo salad in a jar
It may look like rice, but orzo is actually pasta. This would make a healthy yet hearty alternative to traditional pasta salad for a picnic. The minty dressing goes beautifully with the veggies.
16. Asian noodle salad in a jar
The trick to great mason jar salads: Add the dressing first so it sits on the bottom and doesn’t turn the other ingredients soggy. If packed properly, this salad will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
The peanut dressing adds a nice kick to soba noodles, which are often gluten-free (read the labels to make sure). There’s also edamame for protein and crunchy veggies.
17. Coconut-lime-avocado zucchini noodle salad with quinoa, peas, asparagus, scallions, and feta
We’ve got a thing for zoodles, so naturally we fell for this recipe. The name seems long and intimidating, but it’s really not that many ingredients.
The Thai-inspired coconut-lime-avocado dressing is creamy, tangy, and irresistible. Add quinoa, coconut, vegetables, and feta, and it’s a healthy dose of flava.
18. Greek salad
What’s better than a Greek salad? An on-the-go Greek salad.
Layer lettuce or another leafy green atop your favorite Greek dressing. Add chopped carrots, cukes, celery, and red onions. Top it all off with feta cheese, pine nuts, and olives and pretend you’re on the Mediterranean Sea.
19. Pumpkin macaroni and cheese
Just when you thought mason jars couldn’t get better, here comes pumpkin mac and cheese to blow you away.
If you love cheese as much as we do, you’ll appreciate that using a jar makes it easy to know the proper serving size! Feel free to sub gluten-free or whole-wheat noodles.
20. Chicken pot pies
Why make a massive pot pie when you can make individual portions instead? Using store-bought pie crust and leftover chicken cuts down on prep time.
Plus, these can be frozen to have on hand for nights when comfort food is all that will do. Just be sure to let the jars come to room temperature before placing them in the oven — otherwise, the glass may break.
21. Deconstructed sushi jar
Get the taste of an avocado roll without needing Japanese chef-level skills. Anyone can handle alternating sushi rice with all the other ingredients.
Add carrot, cucumber, avocado, nori, and pickled ginger. Don’t forget the wasabi! Here’s another tip: Flavor the rice with soy sauce so you don’t have to tote a bottle around with you.
22. Almost-instant noodle soup
Did you know that packaged ramen contains 40 percent of the daily value for sodium? The recommended intake is 2300 milligrams per day, and one packet alone contains 891 of those.
So, who needs packaged ramen, when you can make a homemade version just as quickly — without all that extra sodium?
Assemble everything in a jar: seasonings, rice noodles, and veggies like cabbage, spinach, bean sprouts, and watercress. At lunchtime, just add hot water.
23. Burrito bowl
Eat your heart out, Chipotle. It’s easier than ever to make your own burrito bowl. In this version, quinoa takes the place of rice and partners with chicken for a protein-filled meal.
Greek yogurt also steals the spotlight from traditional sour cream. Add or subtract your favorite vegetables to mix it up. We love the unexpected addition of sweet potato.
24. Cornbread and chili in a jar
Another classic feed-the-soul dish turned into portable single-serve meals. This cornbread and chili recipe is packed with beans, veggies, and corn and makes for the perfect crafty winter dinner.
We’re all for the mason jar meal trend: It saves money and makes healthy food look more attractive, and it couldn’t be easier to whip up a quick bite on the morning of a busy day (or the night before).
But before you start jarring everything in sight, use caution (and oven mitts) when baking. After removing full jars from the oven, let them cool completely before screwing on the lid, and then refrigerate them immediately.